Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, 27 February 1887

Date: February 27, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: wwh.00023

Source: Walt Whitman House, Camden, N.J. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:71. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock

Sunday P M
Feb: 27 '87

Rather pleasant to-day—sunny, but cold—Nothing new with me—I went over to Phila. one evening last week, & read two "Leaves" in public2—pleasant ride there & back in carriage—was paid—Love to dear J[essie]3—O how my canary is singing as I write—

Walt Whitman

Thomas Jefferson Whitman (1833–1890), known as "Jeff," was Walt Whitman's favorite brother. As a civil engineer, Jeff eventually became Superintendent of Water Works in St. Louis and a nationally recognized figure. For more on Jeff, see Randall Waldron, "Whitman, Thomas Jefferson (1833–1890)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Thos: J Whitman | 4237 [Corrected by another hand to read "2437"] 2d Carondelet Av: | St Louis | Missouri. It is postmarked: Camden | Feb | 27 | (?); Saint Louis | Mar | 1 | 8 AM | 1887 | Rec'd. [back]

2. On February 22, Whitman read "The Mystic Trumpeter" and "A Voice from the Sea" to the Contemporary Club in Philadelphia. [back]

3. Jessie Louisa Whitman (1863–1957) was the second and youngest daughter of Whitman's brother Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman (1833–1890) and Jeff's wife Martha Mitchell Whitman (1836–1873). [back]


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